Turkey as a country is known to almost everybody. Whenever you think of Turkey, you think of the iconic tourist experiences, breathtaking scenery, awe-inspiring coastal regions, exquisite fashion, and authentic cuisine.
The country also fits into a global network that connects Europe and Asia and takes pride in connecting a modern world with a rich mosaic of cultures.
Nearly 40 million tourists visit Turkey annually from different parts of the world, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Among the best-known characteristics of the Turkish people is their hospitality. Turkey’s striking natural beauty and authentic multiculturalism are also contributing factors to its popularity as a study destination.
When considering the large strides the country has made in drawing international students to its universities, it is primarily due to the efforts of the Turkish government, which intends to have around 350,000 students from outside the country.
There are currently 206 higher education institutions in Turkey that educate over 8 million students. Furthermore, over ten universities have consistently been ranked among the top 500 universities in the world. In addition to its high-quality education, the country is also known for its affordable and relatively easy living conditions.
With this affordability in mind, in this article, we list a series of top universities in Turkey that also offer some of the cheapest tuition fees for studies. We recommend reading on if you are interested in a unique learning experience at a cost-free level.
What are the requirements to study in Turkey?
A high academic track record and strong extra-curricular activities will boost your application well. Added to that, a student visa is a stringent requirement, as most students are aware of.
Visa applications would typically take place at the Turkish embassy or consulate of the respective country and the process is usually straightforward. In addition, you will need to have IELTS or TOEFL to study in the English medium.
In Turkey, applying to universities is a difficult process, particularly for students with little or no information. We have written a guide on How to Study in Turkey for international students to help you with the process.
Are universities in Turkey free? If not, how much does it cost to study there?
Turkey is home to numerous universities that offer very low tuition fees but they do not operate on a tuition fee-free basis. In general, the country is not known for expensive degrees and has several cheap universities in Turkey.
If considering an average amount, tuition fees can range from $600 to over $1500 in particular. As for the cost of living, with the easy conditions of living, students can expect to pay between $300 to $400 every month.
You can cover this cost in many different ways. We cover all the different ways that you can afford the cost in How to Study in Turkey for Free (Complete Guide). You should check out this great resource!
What are some of the best programs in Turkey?
There are numerous great programs for international students in Turkey. Some of the most popular ones are:
Do I have to learn the Turkish language to study in Turkey?
Certain universities do provide a few degrees that are administrated and taught in English. However, the majority of courses are taught in Turkish, as would be expected. But do not fear, the universities do offer comprehensive training in Turkish so students are well prepared.
Additionally, you can get to learn the 5th most spoken language in the world!
Cheapest Universities in Turkey
- Tuition fees: from USD 15,000
Kadir Has University is a public institution of higher education based in the city of Fatih in the Istanbul municipality. Founded in 1997, this cheap university in Turkey is a recent but powerful addition to the university system of Turkey and has since expanded into a major institution in the country.
The university has also established itself as a major contributor to the education as well as research and scientific development of the country. A key feature of the university is that its main campus in Cibali is a strong preservation site of the Byzantine age of Turkey.
Students are therefore immersed in the rich heritage and history of the country.
Academically, the university has 6 major faculties that oversee the fields of economics, communication, art & design, engineering, management, and law. A separate graduate school oversees the academics of postgraduate students. Over 50 degrees of study are provided through these faculties.
As opposed to most Turkish universities, the majority of degrees are administered and taught in English. It further has an international population of over 200 students from 40 different countries.
- Tuition fees: from USD 2500
The Izmir Institute of Technology (known as IYTE in Turkish) is a public research university that is based in the cultural city of Izmir. Founded in 1992, it is another recent member of the Turkish university network.
The IYTE’s academic focus is based on a strong emphasis on engineering and natural sciences and is also one of the few universities in the country that specializes in scientific research.
Academically, the university is comprised of 16 academic departments under 3 major faculties. Each of these departments oversees and provides undergraduate degrees for students. In the case of postgraduates, the degrees of study is run by the Graduate School of Engineering and Technology.
Collectively, the university provides a wide range of degrees for over 3500 students, of which approximately 500 consist of foreign students from outside the country. The site’s primary mode of instruction is English which is an added advantage for international students who are interested in studying at this university.
- Tuition fees: from USD 3000
The next cheap university in Turkey for international students is Ege University. Founded in 1955, the university is among the oldest of modern higher educational institutions in the country. It was initially established as an institution that provides education in medicine and agricultural studies.
It is a high-profile research institution as well. The university operates its studies and degree programs through several faculties.
These range across a multitude of degrees including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, agriculture, engineering, communication, and education.
Novel research facilities such as the Institute of Solar Energy and the Institute of Nuclear Sciences offer optimal research opportunities for its students who wish to embrace the practical aspects of their studies.
Additionally, the university provides a strong students union that gives access to different opportunities to embrace student life and develop outside of their studies, through student societies and organizations.
- Tuition fees: from USD 250
The Middle East Technical University (or the METU), is a public research university based in the capital city of Ankara. Founded in 1956, the university is another institution that focuses on providing studies and research in the fields of engineering and natural sciences. It currently has a student population of over 30,000.
Academically, the university provides degrees of study through 5 faculties and 42 major departments. All of these come under the areas of arts/sciences, education, architecture, and engineering. Graduate departments such as the school of applied mathematics and the school of natural and applied sciences offer postgraduate Master’s and doctoral programs.
Collectively, nearly 200 programs are offered by the university, and the primary language of instruction in these courses is in English. Additionally, the university operates extra campuses in Northern Cyprus as well as in the town of Erdemli in southern Turkey.
- Tuition fees: from USD 3900
Located in the area of Uskudar within the iconic city of Istanbul is the famous Uskudar University. Founded in 2011, the university is the most recent institution to be built in Turkey and was initiated through the Human Values and Brain Sciences Foundation.
It is the first specific institution in the country to provide research and education in the fields of behavioral sciences. However, the university provides a range of degree programs for its students that include engineering fields as well as communication studies.
Graduate institutes are more focused and include the schools of science/technology, health graduate studies, and social sciences studies.
Additionally, this cheap university in Turkey plays a strong role in community development and provides multiple vocational schools of education for prospective students interested in short-term courses and diplomas for their professional development. Currently, the university is home to over 17,000 students and further has a large international student community.
- Tuition fees: from USD 4500
Cankaya University is a foundation university located in the city of Ankara. Established in 1997, the university was established through a private group and has grown to accommodate over 8000 current students who are provided with a quality education. Cankaya University operates via 5 main faculties with around 20 academic undergraduate departments.
Additionally, the graduate schools are separated into two institutes that offer Master’s and Doctoral programs. While the main language of instruction is Turkish, the university does offer comprehensive language training to ensure all new students are at the same level during their studies. The university is also a leading member of the Caucasus University Association.
- Tuition fees: from USD 9500
Based in the city of Izmir in Turkey, Yasar University was founded in 2001 by the Selcuk Yasar Sports and Education Foundation. It was part of an initiative to introduce more private institutions of higher education in Izmir as well as focus more on unique paths of study that prospective students could access.
The university prides itself on being a ‘boutique university’ and is considered to be highly prestigious despite its recent inception and smaller status.
The academic organization of the university consists of 7 undergraduate faculties that range from communication and architecture to science and economics. Collectively, around 25 undergraduate degrees are offered by these faculties.
Two separate graduate schools oversee the postgraduate section of the university and offer 22 Masters’ and Doctoral programs for students.
In addition, the university also operates a vocational school that offers 9 associate degree programs. The advantage for international students is that the main language of instruction is English which allows easy access to the courses.
- Tuition fees: from USD 500
Bogazici University is a major research university that is based in Istanbul. The university was founded in 1863 initially as the American-owned Robert College before it came under total Turkish administration. Currently, the university has a student enrolment of over 20,000 students.
Bogazici operates through 6 campuses in the major Istanbul area. It is academically comprised of multiple faculties that include additional academic departments that span across a wide range of areas owing to its comprehensive education system.
In addition, the university offers a range of student societies and organizations as well. The main language of instruction at Bogazici University is English.
- Tuition fees: from USD 15,000
Our last university on this list of cheap universities in Turkey is Sabanci University. Established in 1994, the university had its first students matriculating in 1999 and has since expanded into a reputed institution of higher education in the country.
As one of the only universities in the country, it offers a foundations/development year in which prospective students can acquire necessary skills before they matriculate.
As a result of its ranking among the world’s top 500 universities (based on the QS and Times Higher Education Rankings), Sabanci University offers an excellent academic experience at an affordable price.